As soon in the spring that i can source good veggies, i start making my Israeli Salad. I eat a whole batch nearly everyday that i can through the growing season until the veggies get yucky again.
My recipe is simple:
1 green pepper chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cucumber chopped
2 tablespoons dried cilantro or parsley (double that if using fresh)
1 teaspoon Real salt (double this if you are sweating a lot and need salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Stir it all up. As with most veggies and fruits – room temperature is best for lovely flavours.
I don’t speak Hebrew, but ‘Happy Passover’ simply hasn’t the same ring to it. We are commanded this week of Feast of Unleavened Bread to eliminate leaven (not necessarily yeast) from our lives. I’m not a fan of Matzoh or other flat wheat breads, so here’s what i’ve made. For those of you who are experts on this, PLEASE let me know if this does not meet biblical standards of unleavened bread.
1 cup almonds (ground)
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or whatever cheese you prefer, i used provolone this time)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (ground)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (ground)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (ground)
1/4 cup flax seeds (ground)
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons onion flakes (ground)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup black olives (finely chopped)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
Using my Magic Bullet, i ground all the seeds and nuts separately for best results into a coarse grind, feel free to grind them finely, it’s up to you. Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl with a fork, holding out about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Press mixture onto a buttered 9 x 15 stone pan (use whatever you have), then bake in a 375ºF oven for 12 minutes.
Take out of the oven and cut into squares (i use a pizza cutter), brush with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with salt flakes (optional, but not too much). Bake for another 8 minutes. Take out of the oven immediately and let cool a bit before trying to remove the squares. Use a spatula to remove them.
Absolutely delicious in my opinion!
Keeping Yah’s Feasts (and other Mo’edim) is not just a Jewish celebration; it is for ALL His set apart people! What an honour we are given to give glory to Him in His way.
Sunny, but frosty out this morning and although we are expecting a high of 45F, warm soup will feel mighty good today.
1 lbs grass-finished ground beef (browned)
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 chopped onion
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups water or soup stock
1 cup diced celery
2 teaspoons salt (if desired)
1 teaspoon black pepper (if desired)
One pot directions: brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon olive oil until no longer pink, add all the other ingredients and simmer. The longer you simmer it, the more the flavours will meld and veggies soften.
Be creative in ingredients – celery substitute could be the leaves off the back of a head of cauliflower or chopped kohlrabi, leeks would work. Instead of carrots, maybe turnips, swedes, or rutabaga. I use my own frozen tomatoes from my garden and since i don’t really cook them down, there is plenty of water in with them, therefore i don’t add more water. Recipes like this are perfect for emptying the frig or freezer.
Here’s an easy, delicious, and gorgeous recipe i tried for the first time and was pretty successful! Taken from my old Betty Crocker International Cookbook. When i posted it on facebook, a friend noted that it would make a great Challah bread for Shabbat and some of YHWH’s Feasts! Unbeknowst to me at the time, the little write up for the recipe in the cookbook suggested exactly that!
French Cheese Braid
“The rich yellow dough used to make this braid (the French call it natte) is similar to the Jewish holiday bread called Challah, but somewhat richer in flavor and flecked with bits of cheese. It is delicious as a luncheon or light supper bread served with soup and salad.”
1 package active dry yeast (i use 1 tablespoon)
3/4 cup warm water (105F to 115F)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Real salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces Swiss or Gruyère cheese, shredded or diced (about 1 1/2 cups) (i use mozzarella or cheddar)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (I use my Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook). Place in a greased bowl; turn greased side up. (i spray the dough and bowl with my Misto olive oil sprayer and leave the dough in the same mixing bowl). Cover; let rise in a warm place until double, 1 to 2 hours. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched. (If you can’t find a warm spot in your house, set the bowl in a bowl or pan of hot water)
Punch down dough; knead in cheese until well distributed. Divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a rope, 15 inches long. Place ropes together on lightly greased cookie sheet. Braid ropes gently and loosely; do not stretch. Pinch ends to fasten; tuck under securely. Brush lightly with oil. Let rise until double, 40-50 mintues. (May have to set your sheet on top of the pan of hot water again)
Heat oven to 375F, Beat egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water slighty; brush over braid. Place on oven rack below center of oven. Bake until braid sounds hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes. If braid is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
My experience is that this baked fully at 25 minutes and the braid needs covering at about the 18 minute mark.
I had a request for the recipes of the three soaps I gave to our mailman, who had given me some wonderful all natural home grown local beeswax, so I’ll start with this one! Using regular soap making directions, here are the ingredients for this 5.4 lb (after 4 week curing) batch. Use a soap making calculator to help with oil selections. There are a lot of them out there, just type in ‘soap making calculator.’
24 oz beef tallow (i render our own grass finished beef tallow)
17 oz olive oil
17 oz coconut oil
4 oz shea butter
2 oz beeswax (locally produced usually)
9.45 oz sodium hydroxide
21.88 oz rainwater
5 Tablespoons of Juniper Leaf essential oil stirred in at trace.
Remember NEVER pour lye (sodium hydroxide) into hot oil (or cold oil). Dissolve it into the water first. I always wear safety goggles and rubber gloves when doing this and always outside. The fumes coming off are very toxic and even the tiniest drop of the mixture will dissolve fabric and skin.
Never let the hot oil get on you either. My goal is to heat the oil (slowly) and stir the sodium hydroxide crystals into the water and let cool so that both oil and lye water reach 106ºF to 110ºF at the same time. (stirring sodium hydroxide into water can cause the water to quickly reach over 200ºF – be very, very careful!). Once they each reach those temps, trickle the lye water into the oils which are being blended. Coming to trace can be as quick as 5 minutes or more than an hour!
Many people use an immersion blender these days – very neat idea, but i’m using an old Sunbeam mixer that works just fine and didn’t cost anything. Any implement used in soap making should be dedicated to that project. Never use them for food again.
Making soap is a labor of love; unless you are set up with commercial equipment and plan to make a LOT to keep costs down, there is little profit in it unless your soap is so good that you can command a premium price. And there are some out there that can.
There are so many excellent sites on the web with a plethora of ingredient choices, recipes, and soap making instructions and tips. Take your time, educate yourself, decide how much effort and expense you want to invest, then go for it! Or decide to purchase it already made. That’s good, too.
Tips: Try not to make a huge financial investment until you are sure you want to do this on a regular basis. I still use an old coffee carafe to stir the sodium hydroxide into the water. You can pick them up at second hand stores for less than a dollar and they can easily take the heat. Estate sales or second hand stores may also yield a workable mixer. You can choose to stir by hand, but i guarantee that will get old quick. A lot of fun stuff can be used for soap molds, but remember you’ll be pouring very hot mixture into them – select carefully. I finally broke down and purchased these very keen loaf molds from Essential Depot. They really make it much easier.
Got lazy this afternoon and thought i’d try making a smoothie of my Israeli salad ingredients rather than chopping them. Use fresh organically grown when you can, bring veggies to room temperature for best flavour!
Here’s the recipe:
1 medium home grown cucumber
1/2 vine ripened tomato
1/2 medium sized green pepper (or red, or yellow, or orange)
Now, my smoothie maker isn’t real strong, so i put in about half the cucumber, then all of the tomato and whirred that until smooth, then added the rest as it made room. Oh, made about a pint of drinkable veggie smoothie. Now to be real Israeli Salad, you’d need to add a bit onion as well. I’ll do that next time.